An Antibiotic for Dog Cancer - Dog Cancer Blog

Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

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An Antibiotic for Dog Cancer

Antibiotics are normally used to treat infections, but not many know that there are anti-tumor antibiotics.

One of the cheapest, safest, and most easily obtained through a vet? Doxycycline.  Now, doxycycline is not a dream antibiotic.  It actually has fairly limited use as an antibiotic.  Some use it for dental infections, but it is most commonly used to treat certain blood parasites.

Some exciting news about doxy?  It has anticancer effects!

Doxycyline helps suppress angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation that feeds tumors and robs the body). In this way it slows tumor growth. It blocks enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMP’s) that digest the tissue around tumors, allowing new blood vessels to be formed. Check it out here.

Not having access to as much blood supply, the cancer cells are less able to metastasize through the circulation.  This lessens the spread of some cancers. Read more.

In the lab, this drug can induce apoptosis (normal, healthy, programmed death) of cancer cells.  This is a direct action on the cancer cells, and may have some usefulness in cancers like lymphosarcoma. Here’s the abstract.

In humans, this drug has been a disappointment for cancer treatment.  But in dogs, according to Greg Oglivie, MMP inhibitors (of which doxy is one) combined with chemo for lymphosarcoma improved survival times in some older dogs in double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials.

Although this is a prescription drug, it is widely available and inexpensive.  It can be used with most other agents used in fighting cancer, and is quite safe.

When young dogs take doxycycline, some may develop yellowed teeth. It may cause abnormalities in the cartilage of developing pups in the uterus, so do not give it to pregnant dogs.  It should not be given with calcium-containing foods as this may lessen absorption of the drug.

Best to all,

Dr D

About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM


Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is known as the "dog cancer vet" and is author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity.

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